Low dose rate (LDR) brachytherapy is successfully used as a treatment for prostate cancer and can also be known as seed implantation, implant therapy or implant brachytherapy.
At the centre of this scientifically proven, minimally invasive treatment are tiny radioactive seeds, each measuring just 4.5mm in length – smaller than a grain of rice. The seeds supplied by BXTAccelyon – the Agx100 – are made of titanium and contain a small amount of iodine.
These seeds are permanently implanted into the prostate.
Radiation released from the seeds accurately targets the tumour, destroying the cancer cells. The seeds are positioned close to the tumour and because the radiation doesn’t spread more than a few millimetres from each seed there is minimal damage to healthy tissue
During the LDR brachytherapy treatment between 80 -120 seeds are inserted directly into the prostate using a needle. A patient will initially have a planning session to measure the size and position of the prostate. These measurements are then used to determine exactly how many of the radioactive seeds are required. The seeds are then implanted, either on the same day as the planning session (one day procedure) or two to four weeks later (two stage procedure). The procedure can take place either under general anaesthetic or with a spinal or epidural anaesthetic.
The radioactivity of the seeds used in brachytherapy decays very quickly over time; iodine-125, used in BXTAccelyon’s Agx100 seed, has a half-life of 60 days. After this time the radioactivity will have reduced significantly. As a result there is no need to remove the seeds after treatment and they can remain safely within the body.
Prostate Cancer UK: http://prostatecanceruk.org/prostate-information/treatments/brachytherapy
Cancer Treatment Centres of America: http://www.cancercenter.com/treatments/low-dose-rate-brachytherapy/
Cancer Research UKTerkOncology and Centre for Prostate Care: http://www.floridaprostate.com/seedimplants.html